The murder of the Russian ambassador in Ankara indicates serious shortcomings in the security policy of the Turkish state and will have the negative impact on Russian-Turkish relations, despite the willingness of both sides to exercise closer relations, Valdai Club experts Hüseyin Bağcı and Yaşar Yakış told www.valdaiclub.com.
On Monday night a 22-year-old police officer shot several times in the back of Andrey Karlov, Russian ambassador to Turkey, who opened a photo exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art in Ankara. The ambassador died at the scene from the injuries. On Tuesday, at a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Moscow Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the killing “a coward terrorist act”.
“For the first time a Russian diplomat is killed on Turkish soil. It is a new and tragic event in our shared history,” said Hüseyin Bağcı, Professor and Chair, Department of International Relations, Middle East Technical University in Ankara, visiting professor at Berlin Humboldt University. “For the first time a high-ranking Russian diplomat murder happened in Ankara and, more importantly, there is a question to the government – why they could pass such a person at the event? This indicates to poor security policy, it creates a negative image. Despite this, the Turkish-Russian relations should continue in a constructive spirit, it is necessary to solve the existing problems and to fulfill the obligations. ”
A police officer Mevlut Mert Altyntash, who killed the Russian diplomat, served in the Department of Special Forces of the Ankara police and went to the exhibition, presenting his police ID card. According to RIA Novosti with reference to the Turkish media, last week Altyntash participated in the guarding of the Russian Embassy, when rallies took place next to it because of the situation in Aleppo. On the day of the murder of the Russian ambassador he took a vacation and booked the hotel room to plan the attack.
“Of course, this incident will not have the best impact on the Turkish-Russian relations – Hüseyin Bağcı said. – We’ll see the details, find out who this man was, how he could infiltrate the Ambassador’s guard. But he is, of course, an Islamist, this is evident even on the basis of images. ”
On the video depicting the murder of Andrey Karlov, the gunman shouted “Remember Aleppo, remember Syria. We will not leave you alone. Only death can stop me. We die for Aleppo, you will die here. ” During the police operation Altyntash was killed by the security forces.
“I think that the killer was dissatisfied with the development of the situation in Syria, in Aleppo in particular. A few days ago I was in Berlin. There was a demonstration in front of the Iranian Embassy against actions of Iran in Syria. But there was also a smaller group of young people, who protested outside the Russian embassy. They publicly criticized the cooperation between Russia and Turkey. The killer also was a young man, his motives may be similar, and he could be inspired by similar protests, though, of course, the investigators know better, “- Yasar Yakis, former Turkish Foreign Minister, said in an interview to www.valdaiclub.com.
“This terrorist act is likely to have been committed by the person who opposes the improvement of relations between Turkey and Russia, – Yakis said. The Turkish-Russian relations have several dimensions, and this incident should not contribute to the deterioration in any of them, although it will be not easy. Our politicians need to express deep and sincere condolences over the incident, because they did not prevent the possibility of such a tragedy. ”
A similar opinion is shared by Hüseyin Bağcı: “I think that Putin and Erdogan should immediately talk to each other – directly. Nobody else – neither interior ministers or defense ministers or prime ministers. And I advise the Turkish government and the president that they spoke with the Russian colleagues quietly, without any negative statements and hints – like last year. This is actually the second crisis in our relations in a year. ”
According to former Foreign minister of Turkey, the incident will negatively affect the Russian-Turkish relations, despite the willingness by both sides to get closer.
“There is acute visa issue, the question of the visas abolition with Russia and this incident certainly showed that we all feel quite unsafe. The Russian authorities were right in claiming that, even though our government advocated the abolition of visas “, – Yakis said. – Diplomats should not be victims of circumstances, which they did not create. Unfortunately, we see that the Turkish security system often gives failures.”
Hüseyin Bağcı, Yaşar Yakış